Born in Bedford, England, and having spent much of his professional life in Los Angeles, Robert Gadsby lives today in Houston, where he's executive chef at Noè Restaurant in the Omni Hotel (Noè is his middle name). He's also executive chef of the original Noè at the Omni in L. A., launched in 2003, and the new 676 at the Omni Chicago. Gadsby's training in France included time in the kitchens of French masters Alain Chapel, Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse. He also served a long stint as Thomas Keller's sous chef at Checkers in L.A. He describes his striking culinary creations as "Progressive American cuisine with Japanese aesthetics."
Wow. You have quite a lineup of vintage champagnes in here.
I get a bottle each time there's a new deal or opening or anniversary to celebrate.
Why so many unopened bottles?
With three restaurants going, something will happen and I can't sit down and celebrate. Bottles just keep stockpiling in here.
Sounds like you're pretty busy.
I am. My fiance Sandra and I have been together for 5 1/2 years and we still haven't found time for a wedding.
We hope you at least make her some nice meals here at home.
My theory is that cooking at home is overtime without pay.
Interesting theory. So what's your practice?
Sandra does the cooking, or we eat out. I recently promised to start cooking at home more.
Did you volunteer to make this change, or was it negotiated?
We hear you're just back from a culinary tour in Spain.
Yes. I've never felt more fattened up for the kill. We'd have great cheeses and cured meats for breakfast and lunch, even for snacks. Then came a sevencourse dinner. The Spanish trade commission hosted.
Buy anything interesting?
Yes, two bottles of absinthe for my Outlaw dinners.
What's an Outlaw dinner?
It's a seven-course tasting menu that features taboo or soon-to-be-taboo items.
Absinthe, foie gras, hemp seed, morel mushrooms, some of it cooked sous-vide.
We're doing one at each of the three restaurants.
You're a Brit who lived in L.A. How do you like Houston?
One great thing about it is the central location. It's easy to get to L.A.—traveling east to west is so much better for me—there's no jet lag. And Chicago's in the same time zone.
That makes it convenient.
The real estate market here is favorable, too. I've got a 5,600-sq.-ft. home on an acre with a pool and a three-car garage. A place like this would cost $8-10 million in L.A.
What was the tab in Houston?
I bought it a year ago for $325,000.
So now you've got the girl and you've got the house....
Yes, it's looks like it's time to make the big day happen.
Maybe you can get rid of all this champagne at your wedding.
5 Bottles 1988 Krug
PHOTOGRAPHY: TOM CALLINS / REDUX PLUS